Foodiehall in Cherry Hill is an innovative take out and delivery restaurant concept featuring a variety of restaurant offerings under one roof. Recently they added Philadelphia’s famous Geno’s cheesesteaks to the lineup.
You read that correctly… you can now buy your favorite Geno’s cheesesteak right in the Cherry Hill area… prepared exactly as if you drove over to 9th and Passyunk in South Philly.
I stopped in at Foodiehall this past Friday a day after their formal Geno’s Grand Opening media event, and caught up with Foodiehall cofounder Dan Goldberg, who gave me the tour of the facility.
Video is at the bottom of the article. Keep scrolling!
He also made sure I left with a delicious Geno’s cheesesteak and Crispy Chicken Bao Buns from Canting Wok.
I mean that truly defines the value of the unique Foodiehall experience. I had for lunch a legendary Geno’s “Wiz” steak AND Crispy Chicken Bao Buns… that I ordered in one place, on one check, and paid one time.
And let me say this up front. My Geno’s cheesesteak was perfect. The same high quality Geno’s beef, “real” Cheez Whiz, a fresh and soft roll… and perfectly cooked onions.
And to then try a really fresh and delicious Bao Bun with its pillow soft buns… amazing.
Seriously where else can you do that in one stop?
Keep reading for more on the interesting restaurant idea and a few innovations that Dan and the team introduced into the kitchen… a conveyor belt?
Foodiehall Cherry Hill – The Concept
So a step back, what exactly is this Foodiehall place all about?
The idea for Foodiehall was driven by the growth in the restaurant delivery services, but was actually started before the boom era of “pandemic driven” delivery and take-out growth.
Simply Dan and co-founder Nick Ballias realized around 2018/19 that with customers already moving more towards delivery services, take out, and drive-thrus… Was the larger and more expensive sit down dining experience really necessary today?
So at its core Foodiehall is a collection of self-created and branded restaurants offering consumers choices between pizza, Asian food, burgers, Mexican, Italian and more.
I mentioned Geno’s has been added to the mix, and they are the first restaurant at Foodiehall that is not created by the Foodiehall founders and culinary director.
By the way the new Culinary Director is Sylva Senat who has appeared on the Food Network several times!
The location for this new food concept is in a nondescript Cherry Hill industrial park off of Springdale Rd…. on Olney Ave next to Bury The Hatchet.
It’s a smart move. When you’re core ordering model is online or phone, and you’re not offering indoor seating… why pay the higher commercial cost of being on a busy highway?
Not to mention that being in the middle of an office and light industrial complex is another natural customer base for them, keeping lunch and general daytime hours busy.
Although the location is not entirely offices and industrial facilities, as Foodiehall is located directly next to Bury The Hatchet axe throwing and not too far down the road is the Forgotten Boardwalk brewery. Both of those business’ customers regularly order from Foodiehall.
One of many advantages of Foodiehall and wide variety of food experiences, is that is that on one order you can mix and match things for each member of the entire family or workplace.
No longer does one family member have to be disappointed when the family chooses a different restaurant for the quick takeout meal.
One person can order a delicious cheeseburger, another could order amazing street tacos, a third could order pork belly bao buns, and someone else can get a South Philly Geno’s Cheesesteak… all made in Cherry Hill.
And soon you’ll be able to also add in doughnuts to share amongst everyone.
Foodiehall – Restaurant Experiences
Today they offer eight restaurants, and the 9th will be starting soon (featuring delicious Donuts). They have room for 10 restaurant offerings.
As mentioned Geno’s Steaks is the latest, and most widely known.
Geno’s steaks owner Geno Vento was on hand a few days ago as part of the grand opening celebration.
Geno has been working for months with the Cherry Hill team. This is the first South Jersey location for Geno’s and it was very important that Foodiehall was properly trained and offered the correct ingredients to make the experience in Cherry Hill the same as if you drove over to Philadelphia.
The other restaurants at Foodiehall are:
Simply Fowl: a chicken sandwich concept which offers tender and juicy jersey fried chicken sandwiches with a unique blend of their “dirty jersey” buttermilk marination process, and a proprietary blends of breading and spices.
Canting Wok and Noodle Bar: a combination of high quality Asian fusion cuisine and approachable street food in my visit I tried the crispy chicken Bao Buns which were absolutely amazing.
DaNick’s Craft Burgers: offers a custom blend of short rib biscuit and Chuck beef patties which are expertly grilled on a sizzling flat top. Top it with a variety of choices including Cooper sharp cheese, bacon or more. They also offer several house specialty burgers including one that offers pimento cheese!
Criss Crust: a variety of pizza from thin and crispy to authentic Detroit style. Of course they have a variety of options to choose from, and they also offer delicious hoagies including chicken parm, meatball parm or Italian.
Dando Tacos: is a Mexican street food concept featuring tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and even fresh grilled corn on the cob.
Mac N Toastie: focuses on savory grilled cheeses on garlic butter grilled Texas toast and creamy Mac and cheese bowls with a variety of topics
Fornire Italian Kitchen: uses the freshest ingredients to create authentic Italian cuisine. Highlights include pasta, gnocchi, cavatelli with a variety of homemade sauces. They even offer entrees including Chicken Parmesan or Milanese.
Food Hall – Restaurant Innovation
The customer area of Foodiehall is nice with interesting wall graphics and televisions, but don’t be fooled… There are no tables to sit and eat at. as the plan here is for take out or delivery only.
While the initial idea for Foodiehall was driven by the growing popularity of delivery services, Dan tells me they find they are operating at about a 50/50 split on delivery versus takeout.
Dan explains that if you order from the Foodiehall website or call in directly, you can place your PICKUP order without any additional service fees.
By the way, Foodiehall has a separate office onsite for employees solely dedicated to taking your phone order! The benefit is you’re not trying to keep the attention of the front counter person who is juggling multiple things. Foodiehall has thought of it all!
For delivery, through a unique partnership with a popular delivery service you can also choose delivery directly from the Foodiehall website (or phone order), and the Foodiehall ordering systems will route the order for delivery.
It gives Foodiehall some extra control over the typical delivery fees, and they try to make it more beneficial to customers. I just went through the Foodhall website to test out the delivery process, and was charged a single fee of $4.99 (no service fees) and was offered free-delivery if my order was over $75.
That being said I do see they are listed in Doordash and GrubHub and would imagine others.
In setting up the business, Dan and Nick recognized that while the food is the star of the show, how they set up the kitchen was going to be a huge dealmaker (or breaker) for supporting the variety of food choices and order volume of the restaurants.
The kitchen is smartly laid out into distinct sections. Pizza ovens are in one area, Asian food and woks are in another, the Geno’s grill and french fry area are in yet another section.
When you place an order, the Foodiehall computer splits it off in to separate sub-orders which are made available to the individual food prep section chefs.
The Foodiehall team and their kitchen designer realized they could experience challenges bringing all the different items of an order together fast and accurately… and also safely honestly.
If you’ve ever watched Food Networks “Chopped” competition show where four different chefs work at individual stations while also sharing aspects of the larger kitchen, you fully understand that at times they can get in each others way and even have collisions!
So the innovative solution for Foodiehall (which Dan borrowed from his time in a prior life in the commercial laundry business) was to have a central conveyor belt running through the core food station area.
As your food is completed in each individual station, the chef can simply tag the packaged food item with its order details, and place on the convenient conveyor belt.
Each packaged food item rides the belt down to the front order and customer desk, where the expeditor brings everything together, and can also check on any individual item that is taking slightly longer to prepare.
The innovation doesn’t stop there because recognizing that the timing of food order pickups rarely perfectly matches when the food is completed, the “Waiting for Pickup” shelves behind the counter at Foodiehall are actually heated.
I put my hands on the metal shelves and felt the heat coming through them!
And of course cold items such as salads or drinks are kept separately in the adjacent refrigerator.
Well as mentioned they had a donut restaurant opening up soon, but Dan realizes they have an awesome and successful new idea and implementation.
First and foremost is just letting people know that they’re there and how the innovative concept works. It was clear to me that the infrastructure they’ve invested in could support 345 times the amount of business they currently handle.
Additionally Dan is looking to expand into other regions with new facilities.
Dan even shared with me that experienced members of the restaurant industry and executives have come through to see his facility, as even they had not seen a setup like what is in Cherry Hill!
I told Dan he better get moving on that expansion plans because good ideas like this are prime for “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”!
Links and Location
Foodiehall – Cherry Hill
1931 Olney Avenue
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003